Reply To Julie (Displaying B & W photos)

Note: This post is in response to a colleague’s comment on the blog:

“I have a question for you. I am planning to do a presentation in which I use primarily black & white photographs from old archives. What do you think would be the best background color to use, one that will set off the b&w pics well, without overwhelming them. The topic of my presentation is education.


Hi Julie,

If they’re mostly black and white photos, I’d go with either a black or white background. The subject and themes of your presentation can help you make this decision.


A black background, for example, evokes for me memories of my grandmother’s photo albums which had black paper pages. This would work well, for example, with a local history project with lots of  “people pictures.”


A white background might suggest the walls of an art gallery–this could work for some presentation subjects that could benefit from a “documentary-style” approach to the imagery.

For either background, your photos need borders, so if they don’t already exist, add them in. In PPT 2007, there are several simple and professional-looking border effects that can be used. In the examples above, the image on the white background uses one of PowerPoint’s built-in border effects (simple frame) while the image on the black background already contained a suitable border (since this was a scanned photograph).

I hope these suggestions are helpful – please let me know!



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